11 May 2018
Productivity is acknowledged as one of the key features of a thriving business and it drives employee and customer happiness, organisational performance and finances. Yet it has been widely reported over the last few years that UK businesses have a productivity problem (with the exception of the service sector which saw a 0.2% per hour increase) – impacting wages and UK economy growth.
This is now starting to change, and economists have summarised that this is perhaps due to a variety of factors including, but not exclusive to, a tightening the labour market and low unemployment rates. However, it's impossible to deny the positive impact of Intelligent Automation technologies (RPA, Machine Learning platforms, etc.) on the world of work and the subsequent boost to productivity. In a recent interview regarding the AI Government Sector Deal report, MP Margot James estimated that AI and its subsection, Intelligent Automation, could boost the UK’s productivity by 30% - no small feat and certainly needed to keep us ahead on the global stage post Brexit.
Using technology to improve productivity is nothing new but Intelligent Automation’s ability to combine human and machine capabilities is. It means that people can focus on higher value tasks that humans do best such as problem solving, empathy and creativity. Technology can focus on speeding up the process of managing mundane and highly repetitive activities. RPA vendor Kyron Systems, found in a recent survey that more than 40% of those they interviewed are fed up completing inefficient and repetitive tasks and according to accountancy software firm Sage, companies are currently spending an average of 120 working days a year on this sort of work. It is no wonder employees are fed up. Technologies like Machine Learning could eliminate boring repetitive tasks for employees to not only boost morale but increase an organisations productivity by up to 85%.
Whilst Intelligent Automation technologies do not offer a ‘cure-all silver bullet’ to solving the UK’s productivity problem, it certainly helps us on the road to reclaiming our position from decades ago as a global leader.